One of the “17th games” added to this year’s new NFL schedule format takes place this weekend between the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins. The two teams are set to square off by virtue of each finishing second in their respective divisions last season. After slow starts to the year, both sides have been playing better football in recent weeks. The NFL betting odds have installed the hosts as favorites ahead of this cross-conference showdown.
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Opening Lines: Dolphins -2.5; O/U 43.5
Current Lines: Dolphins -4; O/U 40.5
Location: Hard Rock Stadium — Miami Gardens, FL
Start Time: 1 p.m. EDT
Last Meeting: December 15, 2019 — The Giants defeated the Dolphins 36-20 in East Rutherford.
Two weeks ago, the Giants dropped a 30-10 decision to the defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That game marked the first time since mid-October that New York’s defense had allowed more than 20 points. Perhaps a bye week prior to that game contributed to the sluggish performance. The Giants were able to get back on track defensively this past weekend in a low-scoring win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Despite being outgained by a sizable margin, four forced turnovers enabled the Giants to come out on top. After starting out the year as one of the league’s worst defenses, Patrick Graham’s unit now ranks 11th in overall adjusted efficiency.
Of course, it will likely take more than 13 points for the Giants to reverse their fortunes in the Sunshine State in Sunday’s NFL betting matchup. Unfortunately, it is not guaranteed that New York will have starting quarterback Daniel Jones due to a neck injury. If he cannot go, veteran journeyman Mike Glennon would be in line to start. The decision to fire offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and turn over play-calling duties to Freddie Kitchens didn’t seem to change much last week. Until the Giants bolster their offensive line, playmakers Saquon Barkley and Kadarius Toney will have difficulty living up to their full potential.
Making things even more difficult for the Giants offensively this week will be the opposing Dolphins defense. After starting the season 1-7, Miami enters this Week 13 NFL betting tilt on a four-game win streak. The defense has not allowed more than 17 points in any of those games. At the same time, three of the four opponents have failed to score more than 10 points. Much like New York, the Dolphins have also vaulted up to the top-15 in adjusted defensive efficiency. The unit was so stingy last week that Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton was benched after throwing three interceptions.
Through 12 games, Jaylen Waddle (@D1__JW) has 77 receptions, the 2nd-most by a player in his first 12 games in @NFL history.
Only Odell Beckham Jr. (91) had more. pic.twitter.com/QlprWptSFk
— NFL345 (@NFL345) November 28, 2021
Aided by the takeaways generated by the defense, Miami’s offense has also been playing better during the recent winning streak. Tua Tagovailoa is finally healthy and playing like a franchise quarterback in his second season. The chemistry he had with rookie wideout Jaylen Waddle during their college days at Alabama has transitioned beautifully to the NFL. Waddle exploded for 137 yards and a score last week and remains the most targeted pass-catcher in the offense. Another potential boost could be coming in the form of DeVante Parker who returned to practice on Wednesday and is eligible to come off IR in time for Sunday’s matchup.
- Giants are 4-1 ATS in their last five games.
- Each of the Giants’ last five games has stayed under the total.
- Dolphins are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five games.
- Dolphins are 12-4 ATS in their last 16 home games.
- Giants are 7-1 SU in their last eight head-to-head matchups against the Dolphins.
With the uncertainty at quarterback ahead of Sunday’s matchup, backing the Giants is virtually impossible to do at this juncture. Whether Daniel Jones manages to play or not, the offense has not shown an ability to finish off even the most promising drives with touchdowns. One has to believe that both teams will cough up at least one or two turnovers in this game as well. Each defense comes in on a ball-hawking tear. The Dolphins’ defense has been particularly stout playing at home during their recent resurgence.
With both defenses expected to have a decisive edge in the trenches when on the field, it’s no surprise to see the one-way NFL betting traffic to the under. It’ll be fascinating to see just how low the total goes before buy-back ensues. Could it drop below 40 before kickoff?
No matter what the total is, the Dolphins are the most appealing wager in this game. Brian Flores has his team playing excellent football despite technically still being in the midst of a rebuild. A win on Sunday would send the Dolphins into their bye week on a five-game winning streak and give them a chance to get back to .500 by Christmas. While the offensive front still has a lot of improvement to make, Miami should be able to establish a decent attack on the ground against the leaky Giants run defense.
Pick: Dolphins -4
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Henry John is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Henry, check out his archive and follow him @HankTimeHenry.